In this mental health topic, we help you recognise if you’re being too self- critical. Please seek professional help from your allied health professional or reach out to me if you require support.
Eleven Signs That You’re Being Too Self-Critical
It’s admirable to do your best and attempt to be the best person you can be. It only makes sense to examine your negative results in life and try to do better the next time. That’s actually healthy as it can lead to personal growth and improvement. But it’s also easy to become too self-critical. A high level of self-criticism is detrimental to success and good mental health. Excessive self-criticism hurts your self-esteem and confidence.
Consider these signs that you might be too critical of yourself:
1. You’re paralyzed. One sign that you’re overly critical toward yourself is a lack of action. If you’ve been stuck in the same situation for an extended period of time, you are being too hard on yourself. Otherwise, you’d be out there taking care of business and making positive changes to your life.
2. You’re never pleased with your accomplishments. You may have shaved 10 seconds off your best time but finished second or graduated with a degree in the field you’re passionate about, but you’re still bothered by the fact that you didn’t win the race or didn’t graduate with honors.
3. You’re not assertive. You have to be comfortable with yourself to feel comfortable with asserting yourself. Assertiveness also brings the risk of rejection. Being too self-critical can increase the fear of rejection from others and often stops people from standing up for themselves.
4. You consistently say bad things to yourself. There’s little harm in a small amount of negative self-talk. But a constant barrage of self-criticism is highly damaging. Imagine telling your child that they can’t do anything right and should give up trying. It sounds crazy when viewed from that perspective, but many adults are doing just that to themselves each and every day.
5. You’re a chronic underachiever. Underachieving is both a symptom and a cause of self-criticism. You doubt your abilities, your intelligence or something else about yourself and are overly critical of yourself as a result. This makes achieving things seem like a huge mountain that you don’t believe you can climb, so you settle, which only worsens the situation.
6. Others feel comfortable being critical of you. The average person isn’t comfortable criticizing others. However, after they’ve heard you criticize yourself repeatedly, they’re likely to feel they can join in on the criticism.
7. You criticize yourself in general terms, rather than just for specific events. There’s a difference between telling yourself that you’re not a good tennis player and telling yourself that you’re not good at anything. General criticism is false and highly damaging.
A lack of success at a particular activity doesn’t make you flawed at everything. It’s illogical.
8. You keep your opinions to yourself. While you have every reason to avoid telling someone that they look terrible because you don’t want to offend them, you should feel comfortable sharing things about you that you’re proud of. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your opinions freely, you’re too concerned about being judged by others or saying the wrong thing.
9. You spend too much time dwelling on your mistakes. Can you move on quickly after a short period of self-reflection or do you dwell on your mistakes for an extended period of time?
10. You find yourself unable to ask for help. It shouldn’t be difficult to ask for help. In fact, the more help the better! But if you’re afraid of being viewed as incapable or incompetent is some way it’s a tell-tale sign that perhaps you’re being too critical of yourself.
11. You can’t give yourself a single compliment. Everyone is good at something. Or maybe you know you’re good at a few things but don’t think you deserve a compliment. Either way, you’re being too hard on yourself.
You’re sabotaging yourself by being overly self-critical. You limit both your success and your mood. Realize how much you harm yourself with self-criticism. Learn from your mistakes and apply the information with enthusiasm. The good news is that with proper help and support you can overcome the negative criticism you have of yourself. With effort, persistence and a good coach to guide you, you can break the shackles of self-criticism and move forward to live a far happier and productive life